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MSNBC "Meet The Press" - Transcript

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GREGORY: Let me continue that then though because I want to pick right there, pick up there as we turn to the Democratic governor of battleground Colorado John Hickenlooper and the Republican Governor of Paul Ryan's homestate of Wisconsin Scott Walker. Governors, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS both of you.

GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D-CO): Glad to be back.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI): Good to be with you David.

GREGORY: Both states are pretty tight here, pretty remarkable. Wisconsin is tied as well, that's good news for Romney. A Republican hasn't won your state governor since 1984. And in Colorado, Governor Hickenlooper, look at our latest polling from NBC News and Marist 48-48, I know from talking to the Obama campaign they think it's not that close, they think they have an edge, but they are going to be out there. They know it's tight. Both of you quickly, Governor Hickenlooper you start--what's decisive, what tips the scales in your state and in this election?

GOV. HICKENLOOPER: Well, I think when you look at the mess that President Obama inherited and I mean losing 800,000 thousand jobs a month, month after month after month. The first few months of his presidency, he's turned that around. He's got 32 straight months of-- of job creation, 5.2 million jobs, the national export initiative in the first two years, exports were up 38 percent. I think people are going to hear that and I think they are also going to recognize that-- that Governor Romney's plan of adding two trillion dollars to military spending and at the same time promising five trillion dollars of tax cuts to-- largely skewed to the wealthier parts of the population without any specifics, right? It means like, trying to sell pig in a pork. I mean, what are those deductions and-- and tax credits he's going to get rid of. Are we going to lose the home mortgage deduction? Are we going to lose the deduction from giving to philanthropic organizations like churches that are in many cases for local government our best partners at fighting poverty, improving education that kind of stuff?

GREGORY: Governor-- Governor Walker, for you as well, the defining issue here that-- that determines the outcome in your state.

GOV. WALKER: Well, it's certainly about jobs. And in our case it's-- elections are fundamentally about the future, not about the past. So I think people on the-- few weeks back on that night in Denver in John's state outside of his hometown there when voters got to see that Mitt Romney had a plan and the president didn't, and now in the last few days he's trying to gloss it over with the 20-page glossy document. He doesn't have a plan. Mitt Romney does. And in fact just yesterday as I was traveling the state, there were literally farmers out in fields that had almost like a (unintelligible) commercial where they had one sign after another after another that listed out the five points of his plan. People want to know how they are going to get working again whether it's Jamesville or Green Bay or Wausau or Milwaukee or Superior, they want to know how we are going to get working again. I think it was very clear after that debate. We saw record numbers of volunteers coming into the campaign offices and more importantly we saw the biggest jump in the polls in Wisconsin after people saw the difference in that first debate.

GREGORY: I want to ask you both about the experiences you've had in your states dealing with the other side, the party on the other side, and how you think that may be instructive to-- to Washington in a new Congress, in a new administration whether it's Republican or Democrat. Governor Walker, let me start with you. When it comes to balancing the-- the budget, is it really acceptable for Governor Romney to go to Washington? If it-- if it comes to that and, say, well, through tax reform largely I'm going to balance the budget or through tax cuts we're going to grow our way into this. Is that an appropriately balanced approach to solving this problem?

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI): Well, I think more than anything what people want is action. They want results. They look at the problem-- I mean, I think about my wife Tonette and I looking at our two kids--one who's a freshman in college, the other is a senior in high school--we worry tremendously that four years from now they're not going to have an opportunity when they get out of college to have a job. We worry tremendously not just about four years from now, but years after that if our kids get married and have kids of their own that our grandkids won't able to inherit the kind of America that we grow up in because of the massive debt out there. And so people want results. I think voters…

GREGORY: Wait. But I'm asking you how you get to results, governor.

GOV. WALKER: …like Tonette and I and in this state and other states want results.

GREGORY: I'm-- I'm asking you how you get there?

GOV. WALKER: What's that?

GREGORY: I mean, you have a candidate who's rejected a 10-1 spending cut to tack to revenue increasing formula. Does that-- does that jive with you as you having to navigate some touch circumstances in your own state?

GOV. WALKER: Sure.

GREGORY: Is that a way to run Washington?

GOV. WALKER: In Wisconsin's case, like Kasich and others did around the country, we lowered the overall tax, but, in fact, we lowered property tax for the first time in twelve years. Overall burden went down and revenues went up. Why? Because we promoted more growth. We went from a few years ago having 9.2 percent unemployment down the 7.3 percent today. We went from losing hundreds of thousands of jobs to gaining jobs out there. Why? Because you've going to have a pro-growth agenda out there. When you do, that will help Washington grow in the right direction that'll put more people to work. And when more people are working, that'll help us balance the economy as well.

GREGORY: Well, let me ask a question to Governor Hickenlooper on the democratic side. Do you think the Democrats are, in effect, playing by old rules--too protective of entitlements, not serious enough about looking at serious reform that could also have a bigger impact on how to deal with the debt?

GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D-CO): No, I think you've got to look at it. You've got to have both, right? And-- and in Colorado, certainly we have worked very hard unlike the president. When I got elected in 2010, Republicans sat down, we worked together. You know, we did our budget last year in a divided general assembly. We've passed it with 86 out of a hundred votes. And-- and you've got to have-- it's great to continue trying to-- to get rid of red tape and-- and lower taxes wherever possible, but you also got to have some revenue sources, too. And if you're not going to deal with this fiscal cliff, right, in the lame duck session, which I think is a huge challenge. We've got to get everybody working together, right. I mean, if you look at some of the people that really do understand job creation and-- and how businesses go; Warren Buffett, right, who is supporting President Obama. I mean, he's looking at this cliff issue is-- is-- is really one of the key issues. People do want certainty. But that's the biggest uncertainty of them alls--can Republicans and Democrats work together and get a resolution here.

GREGORY: Let me ask you both, it-- it's striking to me what we've not been debated.

GOV. WALKER: David, just- just to that one point real quick.

GREGORY: Yeah, go ahead, Governor.

GOV. WALKER: I just say-- just onthat point real briefly, remember, both of us are-- are governors here, Mitt Romney was a governor in state where 85 percent of the legislature was Democratic controlled and yet he balanced a budget, did it without raising taxes in a way that helped create more jobs, so I think to prove your point, he's proven he can do it in a state like Massachusetts, I think he can do it for America.

GREGORY: I has struck me that there is not a more robust debate in this campaign about gun violence in America and what to do about that. Is there somehow the federal government-- the state's government-- the state governments for that matter should just sort of keep their hands off and then let it-- let it-- not let it happen, but sort of-- sort of abdicate this idea that well, there is not much in terms of regulation that you can do to accomplish this. Both states that you represent have had shooting rampages. Governor Hickenlooper, have you been disappointed that there is not a more robust debate about this?

GOV. HICKENLOOPER: No, I think that if you look at some of the weapons that people are using in these-- in these senseless attacks, I mean, 12 gauge shotguns, what, there are a hundred and twenty million out there. You know, I do worry that-- that some of the cuts that-- that Governor Romney is proposing are going to cut funding in all manner of levels for mental health, I mean, that's one of the big issues. We've got some crazy folks out there that are just completely delusional. We've got to be able to identify that sooner and-- and get them into treatment, get them off the street before they do some sort of insane act.

GREGORY: Governor Walker, how do you respond to that? Why not more of a debate about, this has been virtually absent?

GOV. WALKER: Well, I-- I-- in-- in our case, at least, in the recent tragedy we had in Wisconsin, and I we had a greater focus, I think, that some of the Republicans and Democrats can agree, on a greater focus on tightening up domestic violence laws because that's where our biggest problem was in our-- our recent tragedy here in the state of Wisconsin. We didn't do enough in the state apparently, at-- at least to the local level to adequately enforce those laws. We didn't do enough to stand up for domestic violence victims in our state at the local level. We need to do more of that. And that's something that I-- I think isn't a partisan issue and it's certainly something that at the federal, at the state and at the local level needs to be highlighted.

GREGORY: All right. We're going to leave it there. We'll be watching both of your states very closely in the days up to Election Day. Thanks governors to both of you.

GOV. WALKER: Thank you.

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